Meetings can be a valuable tool for collaborating, making decisions, and keeping teams on track. There are a number of companies that have made it their practice to regularly hold meetings to brief the whole team on what’s going on and boost productivity levels. However, the question we all ask is: how do we avoid poorly run meetings that are unproductive and frustrating? How do you keep it interesting and informative while also keeping it simple? There are a few ways to do this and effective tips you might not know. So, in the text below, we’ll discuss exactly this and more. Read on!
Set a Clear Agenda
An agenda is a list of topics that will be discussed during the meeting. By setting a clear agenda, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the meeting stays focused. Send the agenda out to all participants before the meeting so they can come prepared and have a clear understanding of what will be discussed. During the meeting, stick to the agenda as much as possible to ensure that you cover all the necessary topics.
Of course, it’s okay to make a few digressions during the meeting or to take some of the time to explain or elaborate on some of the points that refer directly to the main agenda. It’s also expected of you to make a few inquiries during the meeting; maybe ask your co-workers a few questions just to keep track of how well they’ve been paying attention. And if some of your colleagues are still having trouble keeping up with the tempo, follow up on those issues later, after you’ve already explained everything you wanted.
Keep the Meeting Brief
Long meetings can be exhausting and cause people to lose focus. Set a time limit for the discussion and stick to it. This will encourage participants to stay engaged and ensure that you cover all the necessary topics. If the meeting goes over the allotted time, leave any remaining topics for the next meeting. It might seem hard to manage, but it helps to write down on a piece of paper the main points and summarize them in two sentences. This way, you’ll have an introduction to each point, and you can just elaborate a bit more by adding maybe one more sentence. Don’t overdo it with points; 5 to 8 are easy to follow, but everything above is just hard to keep track of.
Assign Action Items
At the end of the meeting, assign action items to each participant. This will help ensure that everyone knows what they need to do and by when. Make sure to follow up after the meeting to ensure that everyone is on track with their action items. New AI models are allowing you to record the whole meeting, which basically means having a transcript of the meeting and never having to worry about something slipping away. So, you should utilize it and use AI to take meeting minutes, as it will give you a certain peace of mind and allow you to stay focused on more important issues. This way, your participants won’t freak out if they missed something or if they didn’t hear something, and you can be at ease and allow yourself to talk freely, allowing for the discussion to go its natural course. Now, with the use of proper technology, there is a way to stay focused, be on time, and still have all the needed information in your back pocket if ever needed.
Encourage Participation from Everyone
Make sure that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Ask open-ended questions and listen to what everyone has to say. If someone is quiet or seems disengaged, encourage them to speak up and share their thoughts. Provide opportunities for people to speak by asking open-ended questions and actively soliciting input from quieter participants. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment by acknowledging everyone’s contributions and avoiding interrupting or dominating the conversation. And you know how we mentioned following up on everything at the end? Make sure that everyone has an opportunity to share their thoughts and feedback.
Also, a bit of advice, if your participants are showing a lack of focus, seem to vary, or generally just show signs of fatigue, you should make 15-minute pauses after each half hour or 5 minutes every 15 minutes. Or maybe just one brief coffee break so everyone can replenish their energy.
Minimizing distractions during a meeting is important for keeping everyone engaged and focused. Start by setting clear expectations for behavior, such as asking participants to silence their phones and avoid multitasking. Choose a quiet and well-lit location for the meeting and avoid scheduling it during times when people are likely to be busy or distracted.
Also, during the meeting, stay on topic and avoid tangents or irrelevant discussions. Use visual aids and engaging activities to keep participants focused and active. It’s an amazing way to keep everyone from falling asleep. You can make it an interactive discussion as well. Buzz quizzes are amazing for this, as they will prompt the participants to take initiative.
Be Respectful of Everyone’s Time
Being respectful of everyone’s time during a meeting is crucial for maintaining productivity and showing consideration for others. Be punctual and start and end the meeting on time, as this demonstrates respect for everyone’s schedules. Step two, limit the number of attendees to only those who are essential to the meeting and avoid scheduling meetings during times when participants are likely to be busy or unavailable.
And please avoid repeating information that has already been covered or discussing issues that are outside the scope of the meeting.
Encouraging feedback from participants during a meeting is one of those things essential for promoting engagement, collaboration, and continuous improvement. First, start by creating a safe and welcoming environment that encourages open communication and honest feedback.
Second, acknowledge everyone’s contributions and encourage participants to share their thoughts and perspectives. Use active listening skills, such as summarizing and clarifying, to demonstrate that you value and understand their input.
Third, consider using brainstorming sessions or breakout groups to facilitate more in-depth discussions and generate new ideas.
And, last but not least, summarize what has been discussed and the action items that were assigned. This will ensure that everyone is clear on what was decided and what they need to do next.